Help with Antique Apertures

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by Nev, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Nev

    Nev Member

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    Might be a silly question, but I am new to older vintage cameras.
    :confused:
    What vintage camera could I pick up for cheap that has a large aperture? Like f/4-f/2? They were made with such apertures back then correct?
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It might help if you specified the format you are interested in. With large format it isn't so much a question of camera as lens/shutter combinations. Most large format lenses that offer those kinds of apertures are "portrait" lenses, petzvals, projection lenses, etc. They offer wildly varying optical characteristics. Some can be in shutter, most are in barrel, necessitating a Packard shutter or other shutter method. The Speed Graphic camera has a focal plane shutter, which does away with the need for a Packard, but there is less lens selection for in 4x5 than 8x10, as 8x10 was a standard portrait format in the day. Most MF can easily be found with a 2.8-4, depending on focal length. Keep in mind that because the "normal" focal lengths of medium and large format cameras increase with size the apparent DOF becomes much less, so from a bokeh perspective a narrow focus effect is much easier to achieve with a larger format. For instance on 4x5 a portrait style lens might have a focal length of about 200mm, and that is the DOF the lens will deliver for a given stop, although the FOV will approximate perhaps a 70mm or some such on 35 (SWAG alert)

    If it is about speed, well, it is what it is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  3. Nev

    Nev Member

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    interesting. hmmm.
    I was looking at the medium format folders that could use 120....
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The older folders seem to live in the f4 range, but that isn't a genre I'm totally familiar with. An 90mm or so f4 on a 6x9 will give a very pleasing bokeh at portrait distance. FOV will be similar to 50mm on 35.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You should be able to find a 645 folder with a 75mm f:3.5 Zeiss Tessar. I don't know of any MF folders with lenses faster than f:3.5?
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    f/3.5 and f/4.5 are not uncommon on middle- and high-end folders from about the 1930s onward---Ikontae, Nettars, Voigtlaenders, various 6x9 plate cameras. There's a good body of information on desirable folders at <http://www.certo6.com>, with an indication of which lenses come on some of them.

    -NT
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    A lot of older German Wirgin's with Wollensak lenses are in the 4-3.5 range. To name just one.
     
  8. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    2.8 tessar through to 3.5 tessars, 2.8, 2.9 xenar, 2.9 radionar, trioplan and cassar are a few available on 6x6 folders such as welta amonst many others..there are 3.8 xenar, 3.5 heliar, scopar and trinar just to name a few on 6x9 folder as well.

    so you should have no trouble in finding what your after
     
  9. Nev

    Nev Member

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    I looked and found a folder with a trioplan. This look ok? Worth what they are asking?
    TRIOPLAN FOLDER
    Its a VARIO... ?
     
  10. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Nope, and it has a f:6.3 lens, not verry fast.
     
  11. Nev

    Nev Member

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    oh right I see on the lens now. Doh.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  13. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    Specifically in the field of CHEAP MF folders with a BIG lens, one thing to look for is cameras with a Schneider Radionar lens, which commonly came as an f2.9 for 35 mm and 6x6. This was a triplet lens (3 elements) which had the typical performance of this type, quite good contrast in coated form, central sharpness quite good even at full aperture, edge definition at full aperture indifferent and never matching center even at small apertures. But if you want something cheap and usable, go for it!
     
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  15. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    there are a few traps for new players Nev...that seller doesnt know what he has so he has just listed it as Vario, however Vario is the name of the shutter, not the name of the camera or lens. The old Varios are very reliable but very basic shutters.

    as you found out, a lens type e.g. Trioplan, was made at different speeds/aperatures depending on year and the camera it was fitted to. after a while it gets easy to recognise them straight away, until then you have to read everything written on the camera

    Also that camera isnt a 120 folder either, so you would of had a suprise trying to load it with film. it takes 116 film (pretty hard to get), which is wider than commonly available 120 film...so that camera takes a 6.5x11cm or 2.5x4.25 inch picture with a 120mm lens.

    from what you said you will likely be after a 6x6 with a 75mm-80mm lens or a 6x9 with a 105mm lens.

    as mentioned earlier the faster lens are usualy found on the higher end cameras of the time so they will be more exspensive than cameras that look like the one you listed.

    the 3 element triplets lenses such as the Trioplan, Trinar, Cassar, Radionar etc will be (should be) cheaper than the 4 element Scopar, Tessar, xenar, Solinar etc and the 5 element 2.8 Xenar and Heliar lenses found on folding cameras

    best of luck in your hunt
     
  16. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Nev,

    I took a look at my collection of old folders yesterday. Most are 620 format (or something even more obscure). But, I do have a couple that are 120. If you're interested, I have two Ihagee Auto-Ultrix cameras. Off the top of my head, I don't remember which shutter or lens they have but I could look tonight - I'm guessing the Ihagee lens in Zenith shutter. Both are in excellent condition physically - I think the lenses/shutters are in good shape but I can verify that too.

    Dan
     
  17. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Is the last "Xenar" a typo for "Xenotar"? (Xenars were Schneider's Tessar clones, Xenotars their 5-element lenses comparable to the Zeiss Planar or Voigtlaender Heliar.)

    There are lots of folders out there with 4-element lenses, but not a heck of a lot with 5-element. But the majority of the eBay folders floating around out there seem to have triplets---some of which are quite good lenses, though they need to be used with an understanding of their limitations. (They tend to vignette and to get soft or downright blurry off-centre, especially at mid- to wide apertures. With a modicum of caution and luck, the results can be quite nice aesthetically.)

    The Lens Collector's Vade Mecum (there are downloadable versions around) is an invaluable resource for folder-shopping; it allows you to look up, fairly easily, the lens on the camera you're looking at, and discover "oh, the Mumbletar is a Tessar clone made by Yoyodyne", or whatever. If you get to where you think of the Vade Mecum as beach reading, you're doomed. :smile:

    -NT
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    "Xenar" has meant a lot of things throught the years, including (but not limited to) Tessars, triplets, reverse tessars, and "planaroids".
    This is not very well covered by the Vade Mecum - it's rather weak on pre-WWII German lenses.
     
  19. Nev

    Nev Member

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    I actually like a bit of blur and vignette around the edges sometimes. I kind of get that from my Holga.
    You said that a what lens does that? Tri Element? Not sure what these mean...
    :confused:
     
  20. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    A triplet is a lens consisting of 3 separate lens cells or elements. Very often they'll have names with tri in them such as Triotar.
     
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I did not know this---thanks for the ongoing education! I imagine one could score a pretty good deal on a "planaroid" lens by finding a Xenar of the right type being sold by someone who assumed it was a Tessar type. Do you know how to tell which Xenars are which?

    -NT
     
  22. Nev

    Nev Member

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    And its these that sometimes will give off a vignette or blur?
     
  23. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    nah, actually its not a typo, NT, its only the f2.8 Xenar (not the others) found on folders mostly pre-war that are 5 element lenses with 3 air spaces (its not the same lens as a Xenotar though), its much like a tessar but you can imagine the front element of the tessar divided into two, with an air space between them. Scheider within the factory called them Xenar-S but it is not written on the lens or in their advertising literature, although their old lens booklets do detail the layout but dont mention the 'S' (so 2-1-1-1 configuration)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2009
  24. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    See post #13 above.
     
  25. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    and while i am thowing out unknown 5 element lenses, here another one not often known, some of the Color Solinar are 5 element as well (not the old uncoated ones), they have an extra tiny element cemented in the center (so 2-2-1)
     
  26. JPD

    JPD Member

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    The five element 2,8 Xenar was available in 5 and 7,5 cm a few years before the war.
     

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